Dockyard Social


I AM Number 21 for the chicken and waffles and the girl says she’ll shout out when they are ready. Don’t worry, she says, she’ll spot me. Given the general hoo-hah that’s a-going on in here I’m not entirely confident about this.

There’s a talented young guy with a guitar on stage right now a-singing away at mums and dads and children and dogs. Yes, loads of dogs. Weirdly, they’re the only ones paying attention.

That's largely because folks are concentrating on getting up and down from the long bench tables with little food vouchery things in their mitts, heading off to the food stalls. Or joining that big fat queue for the bubble waffle caravan that will stretch right across this giant warehouse the whole time we are in. Top tip: Forget silicon valley. It looks like a Bubble Waffle machine may be the sure-fire way to make top money in the early 21st century.

Cal and Seona will join that queue for a (long) while and then give up and instead get pancakes with cream at the fishy caravan which had earlier turned out a pretty reasonable sushi.

Given my chicken is taking a while I drift along the stalls trying to work out from which of these rough and ready and, frankly, slightly unappetising-looking plywood booths will emerge the best bang for my £5 fixed-price food voucher buck.

I waver over a flaked smoked salmon thing at the Indian booth, but at the last minute pull back when I spot a lonely pile of it just sitting there.

I get up close to 16-hour brisket with cheese curds and gravy on waffle fries, then decide to come back when there’s less of a rush.

If I get this wrong I will have to go all the way back to the front door and buy another £5 food voucher. Or two. And it’s a pre-book fiver a ticket just to get in.

Obviously by the time I return to the chicken waffle place the girl will look blankly at me and then reveal she gave mine away on account of their being no response to the shout-out. Darn.

So I’ll start again with that, while gazing next door at two guys in outdoor jackets brazenly whipping Chinese dumplings out of a giant freezer and emptying then into boiling pots. I am pretty sure they do that in the Chinese restaurants too. You just can’t see it.

By now I’ve rejoined the family at the table and we’ve tried a nasi goren from a paper tray with char sui pork belly and an egg cooked at 63 degrees. Not bad.

Crispy chicken wings too tossed in a steel bowl squirted with an exotic sounding sauce. OK, but a fiver for three?

Debs is having that sushi, while Luca, seeing my poor performance at the waffle stand, has been camping out there so he doesn’t miss his order. Just as he stretches his hand through the crush to take his chicken the girl will spot his old dad looming in the background and hand it to me instead. Ha! The chicken tastes like thigh, the batter’s crispy and the waffles are fresh and thick and good. Not bad. The same price – ie one voucher – as those chicken wings we had earlier. Strange.

Cal bought the £5 entry tickets for this Mother' s Day outing online, in advance, and a free drink at the bar comes with them. I’ve got to say that when I look around now that the original rush is over the long tables are still all packed, but the eating seems finished.

Someone else is now singing on the stage, dads are playing with kids, dogs are lollygagging around; the atmosphere is relaxing.

It’s a work in progress here, the tables for example are crying out for a varnish or a stain to stop the food splatters being visible, the booths seem unfinished. Food vouchers are a bad idea but it’s a pleasantly bustling place.

Dockyard Social

95 Haugh Road,


Opening hours: See

Menu: Malaysian street food, chicken and waffles, dumplings, various booths which will no doubt change. 4/5

Atmosphere: Bustling warehouse with trestle tables and live music, had a definite vibe when the food rush calmed down. 4/5

Service: There’s a bit of waiting about and the booth at the front door needs sorted, but all pretty reasonable fun. 3/5

Price: Prices are inconsistent and probably overall overpriced – food vouchers not a great idea. In fact they’re a bad idea. 3/5

Food: Nothing too challenging on offer, but facilities are limited chicken and waffles were good, nothing was bad. 6/10

Total 20/30